It has come to my attention, dear NotGraphs readers, that some policies have been put in place over at Major League Baseball. Specifically, it seems as if MLB has strong-armed Apple, Inc. into removing certain baseball-team-centric podcasts from the iTunes store. I have provided a link in the previous sentence to prove that this is not a farce. It is a real thing, and it frankly upsets me. It seems silly to list all of the reasons, since the intrepid reader can almost certainly list most of them. Suffice it to say that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense from any angle I’m privy to, but perhaps some further explanation from the Lords of Media will provide insight.
In the meantime, I’m here today not as a middling baseball writer but as an IT Professional. I’m here to help you continue listening to your favorite podcasts that were removed from the iTunes store.
1. Manually Add Them in iTunes
Just because iTunes removed some shows from the store, they are not gone forever. Any podcasts publishes updates via RSS. This is the address that iTunes and others look at to see if a new podcast has been posted. Every podcast has one. The RSS Feed for Stealing Home (which is still in the iTunes store as of this writing) is http://www.hardballtimes.com/stealing-home/feed/. Others may be listed through services like Feed Burner or Libsyn. In any case, you can use that address to manually add the show back into your iTunes library. The directions for doing so are laid out nicely here.
2. Use a Podcatching App
If you are in the enviable position of not needing to use iTunes, now would be a good time to switch to a different application to grab all your podcasts. These applications, called Podcatchers by the most pretentious, basically do the same thing that iTunes does but without the handcuff of the iTunes ecosystem.
If you use iTunes to sync podcasts to your iPhone, I suggest switching to Downcast. They have apps for both iOS and Mac OS, and they come at a very reasonable price. Downcast is very customizable regarding things like episode retention and auto-downloading, and can be synced across devices using iCloud. You can use Downcast to beam episodes to a Google Chromecast as well, if you have bangin’ speakers attached to your AV setup. You can add podcasts via manual feed input or a very robust search function.
Android users can look at Doggcatcher for all of their podcasting needs. Doggcatcher comes with many of the same features of Downcast — easy search, customizable feeds, Chromecast support — and is also very reasonably priced. It was the first app I downloaded when I got a new Android phone.
This MLB/iTunes crackdown is a little scary and a little disheartening, but with a little extra effort, you can still get your favorite podcasts into your ear holes at your convenience. The real problem for podcast creators is getting new listeners through channels besides iTunes, but that is an even more alienating post that I will have to save for later.